Happy Birthday actor Slim Pickens (1919–1983)
Born: June 29, 1919 in Kingsburg, California, USA
Died: December 8, 1983 (age 64) in Modesto, California, USA
Married to: Margaret Elizabeth Harmon (1950 – 8 December 1983) (his death) (3 children)
Ever remembered as the Air Force major from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), it is interesting that Pickens’ nephew, Jim “Slim” Pickens, became a career officer in the US Navy.
Before becoming an actor, Slim was riding on the rodeo circuit. Someone told him that he should take up another line of work because all he would ever get in the rodeo was “Slim Pickin’s.”
Brother of Easy Pickens.
Dedicatee of Howard Waldrop’s story “Night of the Cooters,” whose protagonist is Sheriff Bert Lindley.
Well, there was this big, lanky, fourteen-year-old California ranch kid, and he went into the rodeo manager’s office and said, “Mister, I want to sign up for the calf-roping but my paw says I ain’t allowed to. So I can’t use my right name.” And the manager said, “Son, no matter what name you use, it’ll be slim pickin’s out there today.” So the boy said, “That’s as good a name as any, I reckon-put me down as Slim Pickin’s.” The manager spelled it “Pickens,” and the boy won $400 that afternoon. (As told to Ed Zern)
Was Stanley Kubrick’s first choice to play the role of Dick Hollaran in the film The Shining (1980). Pickens declined, saying that after enduring Kubrick’s notorious style of multiple retakes in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), he had no desire to work for Kubrick again. Subsequently, the role of Hollaran went to Scatman Crothers.